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Re: [xmca] Brains, Computer, and the Future of Education

David, thanks for that reply.
I hope your projection into the future for the direction of learning theory
comes to fruition.
 At the university level developmental and sociocultural accounts may be
competing with cognitive and behavioral models, and may in the future over
throw the dominance of cognitive models. However in the applied world of
elementary schools the implicit models of learning currently are
still dominated by behavioral and cognitive frames.  I suppose the first
step is to attempt to make teachers aware that there are four distinct ways
to understand learning before they can have a debate among themselves about
which model of learning is most useful.

David, even if the scenario you suggest where developmental and
sociocultural accounts become accepted within university discourse, how are
those approaches to learning developed within the university going to modify
teacher practices in the classrooms of elementary schools?  Do you know of
an article, written for a general audience, that elaborates the four
distinct approaches to learning? I would like to encourage a debate among
school staffs that could attempt to make the four models explicit.


On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 7:45 PM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

> Larry,
> Here's my sociology of science account of the rise of brain studies as a
> substitute for learning theory.
> 1. In Kuhnian terms, psychology is a preparadigmatic science. For
> instance, learning is variously studied in behavioral, cognitive,
> developmental, and sociocultural schools that conceive of learning in
> fundamentally distinct ways.
> 2. The grand motive of preparadigmatic science is establishment of
> paradigmatic consensus. Each school is in competition with the others to
> unify the field under its umbrella by coming to accommodate the
> interests of the other schools while still preserving the essence of its
> own unique perspective. Most often this competition is implicit, but
> periodically it leads to open conflict as in Chomsky's repudiation of
> Skinner's effort to account for "Verbal Behavior," or in the flare up in
> the late '90s between James Greeno and John Anderson and company over
> cognitivist efforts to account for the situated character of learning.
> 3. The dominant paradigm in any period always is the one to most
> strenuously pursue hegemonic designs on the field. The cognitivists'
> embracing of the rhetoric of situativity has cost them dearly: they no
> longer can forefront the technical machinery of information processing
> theory and artificial intelligence computer simulation as their central
> technical method and theoretical thrust. This is really a crisis point
> for cognitivists. They gained prominence through the Information
> Processing approach, and are coasting along on their reputation.
> Embracing brain science enables them to maintain the surface features of
> dynamic "science," while providing a convenient disguise for the fact
> that there's no longer a central metaphor for learning that is being
> elaborated and developed by that community.
> 4. Projecting this forward a decade or so, we have the likelihood of
> diminishment of the importance of the cognitivist umbrella, and renewed
> opportunity for the other schools to push toward the front of the pack.
> ...should be lots of fun.
> David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
> On Behalf Of Larry Purss
> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:37 AM
> To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Brains, Computer, and the Future of Education
> Mike,
> The band wagon may not be a strong enough metaphor.  The image of a
> steam
> roller seems more accurate.  I mentioned earlier that the term ZPD is
> now a
> recognized term in many school settings [as scaffolding].  However this
> alternative metaphor of mind as computer or mind  as brain is a far more
> powerful metaphor in schools. Often school staffs are fascinated with
> these
> explanations and believe that neuroscience is finally getting to the
> "heart"
> of the matter [couldn't resist the contradictary metaphor]. Brain
> science as
> an explanation of learning is becoming   the dominant narrative in
> many school debates.  I was wondering if there are any "simplified'
> articles
> for a general audience that engage with these neuro/brain metaphors that
> would lead to school staffs possibly having a dialogue [by introducing
> dought]  I have shared a few articles with interested staff who love
> ideas
> but they were too "theoretical" for a staff discussion.
> With this steam roller comes the call for justifying your practice in
> schools by using "best practices" which are "evidence based".  This
> evidence often is dominated by evidence from neuroscience
>  I have attempted to introduce sociocultural perspectives into the
> debate in
>  response to the neuro/brain social representations of learning but I
> would
> appreciate an  article for a general audience that I could hand out to
> start
> a dialogue among school staffs.
> Mike, I believe this frame of reference is not a "fad" or a "band wagon"
> but is developing into a "conventionalized" metaphor which most
> educators
> may use to explain "learning" in  schools.  Fad indicates a transitory
> phenomena and neuroscience seems a longer lasting  phenomena.
> I am looking for an article that does not refute or contradict the
> neuroscience explanations but rather LINKS the  ideas to sociocultural
> concepts.
> One of the principals in a school I work in is attending this
> conference,
> and principals do have influence in school cultures.  I hope to
> influence
> her.
> Larry
> On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 8:07 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The bandwagon is visible coming over the horizon!
> > Check it out at http://www.learningandthebrain.com/brain28.html.
> > Join for just the price of a click and a clack.
> > mike
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